Wick: A Complete Guide

Find out all you need to know including what to do, where to stay, where to eat and how to get to Wick, North Scotland.

About Wick
Wick is a coastal town in Caithness, North Scotland with a population of around 7,000 people centred around a harbour which in the nineteenth century was the most important herring fishing harbour in Scotland.

Located along the North Coast 500, 14 miles south of John O’Groats and 104 miles north of Inverness, Wick is a key town on the north coast along with Thurso.

What to do in Wick
For those visiting Wick, particularly without a car, consider:

* Caithness Seacoast Boat trips are run by Caithness Seacoast of between 30 minutes’ and 3.5 hours’ length along the Caithness coastline, with stops including Whaligoe Steps and Lybster.

* Pulteney Distillery
Home to Old Pulteney whisky and the favourite local whisky liqueur, Stroma, the Pulteney Distillery runs guided tours with different tasting options available - and a gift shop.

* Wick Heritage Centre For local history, Wick Heritage Centre provides a touching insight into the lives of Wick families with an emphasis on the Johnston Collection, a collection of around 50,000 photographs taken from 1863-1975.

* South Head Quarries Path and the Castle of Old Wick If you want to stroll along the coast, there is a walk past Wick Harbour and the Trinkie Pool which takes you as far as the Castle of Old Wick. Consider this on a winter’s morning, when the sun will be rising on the east coast.

* Wick Riverside Path This is a flat walk or cycle along the Wick River into the countryside - around 5 miles round trip in total.

What to do near Wick
With a car, you can explore the surrounding area. Ideas include:

* Whaligoe Steps Totter down the 300 or so steps which take down the cliff to Whaligoe Harbour. The Whaligoe Steps Cafe is located at the top of the steps for a drink, lunch or dinner. For small historic sites near Whaligoe Steps, consider also Hill O’Many Stanes and the Cairn of Get. Lybster Harbour and the Waterlines Museum is just a few miles south.

* Camster Cairns A 20-minute drive from Wick, these two Neolithic cairns are peacefully located near the Camster Forest.

* Castle Sinclair Girnigoe Head north to see this ruin, located by Noss Head Lighthouse and near Ackergill Tower, a private residence and castle on the coast of Sinclair Bay.

* Reiss Sands For a long tranquil walk, visit Reiss Sands when the tide is out.

* Lyth Arts Centre This small arts venue is just a few miles north of Wick and hosts exhibitions, concerts, evenings out and a range of arts activities for the family.

Where to eat in Wick
For an upmarket lunch or dinner, consider:
* No. 1 Bistro  The restaurant of Mackays Hotel serving Scottish cuisine with locally sourced ingredients.

* Bord De L’Eau French cuisine with daily fish specials, locally sourced.

For more casual dining:
* DeVitas Pizzeria Italian cuisine with a focus as a pizzeria.

* Alexander Bain A Wetherspoons pub with affordable coffee, breakfasts and some Scottish menu items.

* Morags A playful cafe and cake shop with children’s amusements and a sweet shop.

* The Rumblin’ Tum A converted gas station serving breakfasts and lunches, run by a writer and woodworker.

Where to shop in Wick
For gifts, consider:

* Bin Ends For a range of whiskies and alcohols, including miniatures.

* The Pulteney Centre For a selection of local gifts and products.

For food, try:
* Caithness Chocolate Available online, also selling products at the Nethercliffe Hotel reception.

* Caithness Coffee Company For freshly ground coffee, chocolate coffee beans and locally baked products.

* The Cliff Bakery For fresh bread, cakes, biscuits and eggs.

* Meiklejohns For ice cream cones and traditional pick n mix sweets.

Where to stay in Wick
* Hotels The main hotels in Wick are Mackays Hotel, the Norseman Hotel and the Nethercliffe Hotel.

* Bed and breakfast & self-catering apartments There are a range of B&Bs, including properties via Airbnb.

* Camping The Wick Caravan & Camping Park is located by the River Wick.

How to get to Wick
* By Car Follow the A9 and the A99 north from Inverness. The journey is around 2.5 hours.

* By Train The Far North Railway Line from Inverness to Wick is around 4.5 hours and a picturesque journey.

* By Bus The X99 coach from Inverness is around 3 hours.

* By Plane Wick John O’Groats or Inverness Airport

Where to go next
Consider continuing your journey north towards John O’Groats, Thurso or Scrabster and onwards to the Orkney Isles.

Alternatively, venture south via Lybster and Dunrobin Castle to Inverness.

See next: the drive from Wick to John O’Groats